Today’s Times article, “2 Plans and Many Questions,” takes a serious look at the health care policies put forth by the Dems. From the details currently available, the major difference is on the issue of mandates: whether every American should be required, by law, to carry an insurance policy. If you read my posts, or know anything about me, I’m all for mandates. Without them, I don’t think the necessary policy provisions will be in place for everyone to truly be able to obtain coverage.
Even Obama’s own people deny his claim that his plan would cover everyone:
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, maintains in a television advertisement that his plan will “cover everyone.” That claim is disputed by some of his own advisers, including Mr. Brown, who recently calculated that the Obama plan might leave behind two million free riders.
“That’s the number we would expect to continue to be uninsured unless they’re forced to buy coverage,” Mr. Brown said.
While two million is certainly different from the Clinton camp’s claim that the number of uninsured could reach fifteen million, there’s clearly an established problem with such a plan.
The notion of “free riders” is one of the most interesting elements of the article. Free riders are people who choose not to buy health care coverage, even though they technically could afford to do so. Here’s an example:
Ms. Coons, a 23-year-old waitress who rents a room and rarely eats out, said she could probably afford a high-deductible policy if she gave up her gym membership and spent less on her amateur photography. But she chooses instead to gamble against the odds of confronting a bankrupting catastrophe.
“I’m young and in pretty good shape,” Ms. Coons said one recent afternoon, on her way to the treadmill at the Fitness Factory in Midtown Atlanta. “I looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield. But the only thing I could see myself really needing it for are prescriptions and dental because there are so many free clinics, or a hospital visit really isn’t all that expensive.”
She continued, “The insurance premium was more than what I would pay for my prescriptions, so I just decided not to deal with it.”
Ms. Coons, in this case, talks about free clinics and emergency room visits–health care options that are being subsidized so that the truly poor–the people who can’t afford, or have been rejected for an insurance policy for any number of reasons–can receive care.
Many free riders, including Ms. Coons in Atlanta, never consider that the care they receive in community clinics and emergency rooms is subsidized by taxpayers and private policyholders. “I still pay for everything,” Ms. Coons said, “and I certainly pay taxes.”
Obama denies that people like Ms. Coons exist.
I pay more for car insurance than I do on car repairs, or damage to any person or any property that I’ve ever done (I’ve never even had a ticket), but is that any legitimate excuse for canceling my policy?
Tomorrow I’m going to blog about the fetish of children and health care. Obama wants a mandate for parents to buy insurance for their kids, but there are currently numerous options for children to receive coverage. They’re not the biggest–or most expensive–group of uninsured.